The Box Score: Inside college football statistics, Week 7

BY BEN ROSS | OCTOBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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The college football season is well underway, and some pretty good stories have emerged. Among others, Notre Dame is relevant again, and West Virginia is a legitimate national-title contender. After an Iowa bye week, The Daily Iowan takes a look at some national statistical leaders below.

Completion percentage: 81 percent (1st in NCAA)

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith has been absolutely shredding defenses this year. The senior has thrown a nation-high 24 touchdown passes and has yet to be picked off by an opposing defense. He has completed 81 percent of his passes, and he averages 10 yards per throw. Smith is third in the nation in passing yards with 1,996 as well and is on the short list for most Heisman voters.

Touchdowns allowed: 3 (1st in NCAA)

Did you know Notre Dame is leading the nation in total defense? The Irish are putting up some impressive numbers: Notre Dame has allowed just three touchdowns this year, best in the nation, and all those scores came in the team’s first two games. The Fighting Irish haven’t allowed an opponent to reach the end zone since Sept. 8, when they beat Purdue, 20-17.

Yards from scrimmage: 2,044 (4th in NCAA)

Quarterbacks across the nation are putting up gaudy passing numbers. But as Hawkeye fans might remember, Northern Illinois signal caller Jordan Lynch does just as much damage on the ground. Lynch gave Iowa a tough time on Sept. 1, ripping off a 73-yard touchdown run. He is fourth in the nation behind Geno Smith in total yards. Lynch has rushed for 789 of them and passed for 1,255, and his 18 touchdowns are evenly split between the ground and the air. The junior’s versatility gives the Huskies a well-balanced offense.

Receiving touchdowns: 13 (1st in NCAA)

With the success Geno Smith is having, it’s no surprise that two of his receivers are among the top three pass-catchers in the country. Stedman Bailey leads the nation with 13 touchdown catches. His 15 yards per reception is especially impressive considering he has caught 49 balls. Teammate Tavon Austin is tied for second in the country with 8 touchdown catches and is tied for the national lead with 58 receptions.

Tackles per game: 13.4 (1st in NCAA)

Boston College always seems to have a linebacker who plays well, while everything else about the program struggles. Mark Herzlich and Luke Kuechly shone for mediocre teams the last two seasons, and now the Eagles’ Nick Clancy leads the nation with 13.4 tackles a game. Clancy is third in the nation with 68 total tackles. Anthony Hitchens of Iowa is still lingering around the leaderboard with more than 12 tackles per contest.

Average time of possession: 34 minutes, 17 seconds (7th in NCAA)

Among all the teams in the nation that have played six games, Michigan State has had the ball longest — holding it for 205 minutes and 45 seconds this season. The Spartans hold onto the ball for more than 34 minutes a game on average, which doesn’t bode well for the visiting Hawkeyes this weekend. Iowa usually aims to win the time-of-possession battle, but it’s going to be tough to wrestle the pigskin from Le’Veon Bell and the rest of the Spartan offense.

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